Music & clubs

CTM 2019: Viva la persistence

Berlin’s go-to fest for brainy experimental music marks its 20th anniversary with an emphatic motto and an eclectic lineup. It's on Jan 25-Feb 3 at venues across the city.

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Gazelle Twin

Berlin’s go-to fest for brainy experimental music marks its 20th anniversary with an emphatic motto and an eclectic lineup.

This edition of CTM – founded as “club transmediale” 20 years ago – kicks off on January 25 with a club night at Berghain and, on the following day, opening concerts under the festival’s 2019 theme: “persistence”. Linn da Quebrada shines a light on structural violence towards the LGBTQ community in Brasil by performing her funk album Pajubá infused with carioca, a gangsta rap genre infamous for its use of misogynist and violent lyrics.

UK-based Gazelle Twin equally has a bone to pick with her own country. Her third album Pastoral is a dystopian puzzle of mangled reactionary tropes that, put together, has Brexit criticism written all over it. Lotic, on the other hand, takes the motto to an autobiographical level with his audiovisual performance Endless Power, a collaboration with artist Emmanuel Biard.

Stefan Fraunberger is taking a rather time-based approach, presenting his long-term project Quellgeister, producing haunting pieces using weathered Transylvanian church organs. Thomas Ankersmit, who created gut-wrenching sounds with his piece Infra in 2017, premieres “Perceptual Geography”, an homage to the late artist Maryanne Amacher who also dabbled in psychoacoustic phenomena. For all tech geeks, Actress and Young Paint contribute to CTM’s foray into AI technology with a performance that brings back memories of Holly Herndon’s virtual AI baby of 2018.

On top, breakcore icon Venetian Snares who returns to CTM after a decade-long absence, Perera Elsewhere takes her futuristic R&B to the stage, and Colin Self presents his new album Siblings, finding the strength to persist in his self-chosen next of kin. And should you require a little break from all the synth-y bleeps and glitches at some point, noise rockers Lightning Bolt will cater to your needs, and audiovisual duo Jerusalem in My Heart make use of the Middle Eastern instrument buzuk.

Of course, CTM offers plenty of clubbing opportunities too. There’s Bassiani from Georgia, and CTM regular Rabih Beaini joins forces with Pouja Poramin as part of a series of cooperations with the like-minded Iranian SET festival, and the Berlin-based collective Through My Speakers presents a variety of African rap and club acts. Also billed: Riobamba, DJ Haram, Miss Djax, DJ Marcelle, quest?onmarc and Juba.

Apart from panels and discussions, an exhibition at Kunstraum Bethanien as well as an installation including Raster artists Byetone and Mieko Suzuki, Dasha Rush, Robert Lippok and others at nGbK, both free of charge, round off the festival’s programme.

CTM Festival 2019 Jan 25-Feb 3 various venues